(also SPINDEX II, SPINDEX III), n.An early computer application to assist in the production and indexing of finding aids for records and manuscript collections.


SPINDEX is derived from Selective Permutation INDEXing.


Barth 1997 [Beginning in 1964] LC developed two separate systems, the Master Record of Manuscript Collections (MRMC) to provide administrative control over holdings, and SPINDEX (emerging out of the previous punch card project) to provide automated forms of access to archival materials. The National Archives joined the automation effort in 1967, and developed a derivative system from SPINDEX geared more specifically for archival collections at NARA called SPINDEX II. ¶ SPINDEX II focused on providing access to archival collections by automating previously prepared and published finding aids. ¶ The National Archives used SPINDEX II extensively throughout the 1970s, producing among other guides, the first comprehensive index to the Papers of the Continental Congress in conjunction with the American Bicentennial. NARA also used the system to prepare up-to-date collection guides (subject-based, and format-based) as well as the National Historical Publications and Records Commission's Directory of Archives and Manuscript Repositories. NARA did make the SPINDEX II system available to other organizations, and the system was used widely both as an archival control program, but also in a records management capacity for many corporations in the United States, Canada, and Australia. Hickerson 1981, p. 29 The basic SPINDEX II programs provide for the printing of a register (a formatted, narrative collection description or abstract) and an index. The index provides for a primary sort of keywords, alphabetically or chronologically, and a secondary sort by either title or date. . . . After the staff of the NHPRC decided to use SPINDEX in the creation of a national data base of information on archives and manuscripts in the United States, they requested that NARS make significant changes in the SPINDEX II software package. Carrying out these modifications resulted in the creation of SPINDEX III.